29 DECEMBER 1855, Page 15


HILMAR'S HISTORY OF LATIN CIIRIBTIANTTT.a THE concluding volumes of Dean Milman's Latin Christianity commence with the Popedom of Innocent the Third, and his tri- umph or seeming.triumph over the potentates of Western Chris- tendom, including our craven Sohn. They go on to narrate the quarrels and claims of succeeding Popes, more especially with the Emperors of Germany ; and tell of their proceedings as sove- reigns, pontiffs, patrons of art and learning, and men ; the his- torian bringing out their virtues into high relief, and we think shading their vines. The rise of the Dominican and Franciscan orders, the downfall of the Knights Templars, with the iniqui- tous proceedings and improbable charges brought against them, the degradation of the Papacy at Avignon, and the revolt of Rienzi at Rome, are fully presented. The crusades against various heretics, the Hussite war, the life and character of Wyc- liffe and Huss, and the rise of the Lollards, have their appro- priate place in the history, together with the Councils of Pisa, Constance, Ferrara, ,Florence, and Basle. The Sicilian Vespers, perhaps St. Louis of France and his Eastern crusade, are less • immediately connected with the author's theme. Indeed, the Popes as men or rulers and lay affairs in general, often seem to take the place of Latin Christianity. The narrative closes, as the author intended, with the capture of Constantinople and the death of Pope Nicholas the Fifth, caused, as some believed, by the successes of the Infidels. A. final book takes a survey of the ecclesiastical organization and religious belief of the Latin Church, its productions in literature, philosophy, and architecture, and its influence on sculpture and painting. The close is some- ' what abrupt. The time when the Pope had domineered over Christendom had long passed away ; but the Popedom had risen from the degradation to which Philip the Fair had reduced it: in the book the Latin Church seems almost firmly fixed in the minds of Western Christendom, though the reader knows that the Reformation was impending over it. Dr. Milman's adhesion to the established plans of history-writing, visible in the choice of topics, is found in their treatment. The history of "Christianity," or even of a church, admits of a fuller display of the mass of mankind—of the people and their humbler pastors—than is altogether appropriate in a political or general history. Dr. :Ullman has hardly taken advantage of this oppor- tunity of his subject so well as he might have done ; at least his pages have not that reflex of the times which those of Macaulay frequently exhibit. Like several other modern historians, the Dean excels in criticism and disquisition rather than narrative. He is more at home in tracing motives, estimating character, ex- pounding the rules of an order, or a system of theology or philo- sophy, than in impressively telling a story. Independently of some want of dramatic power, there is a tendency in our day to multiply circumstances till the leading idea is lost in details. Any one who is curious upon this point may compare Hume's account of the effect which the death of his son produced on Henry the First, or the sack of Rome by Bourbon's army, or any other striking event, with its reproduction from the chroniclers by a modern historian, French or English.

The historical style of Dean Milman hitherto has reminded ,us of Gibbon. In the more narrative parts of the present volumes he has aimed at a homelier manner, without great success. The endeavour to attain a sort of Homeric simplicity often produces abruptness, and a species of momentary obscurity, that would look like want of revision did it not seem adopted on principle. The work, however, is a valuable contribution to historical literature. In theory, it might have been better to have had less of the Popes as potentates dealing with other potentates' and more of the masses both lay and clerical. In practice, the history well avoids the mere ecclesiastical character of some other church historians ; ,ex- hibiting the dealings of churchmen in the world as well as in the cloister.

It may be doubted whether in the darkest ages the power of the Popes was so absolute as it seemed. To give the religions or superstitious element effect, it required indirectly some outraged moral sense—as King John's alleged murder of his nephew Prince Arthur, or directly some practical grievance, in which the church took the part of the people. The fulminations of the Vatican, that reduced John to helplessness, fell harmless upon the Barons of Magna Charta. Perhaps, in the mightiest days of the Popedom it could only triumph when opposed to weakness or imprudence. Prudent resolution could always have opposed the Pope with success, had care been taken not to run counter to popular preju- dice. Either Boniface the Eighth overlooked this fact in his con- tests with Edward the First and Philip the Fair, or a century had wrought a most surprising difference in the minds of men. The seizure and subsequent imprisonment of the arrogant Pontiff by Philip's agents and his councillor William of Nogaret, as well as the charges against his memory which the King compelled the Papal courts to listen to, would have been deemed a strong pro- ceeding at any time. In the plenitude of his arrogance and his anger, Boniface at last excommunicated Philip, but immediately found that monarch's heavy hand upon him. "The King of France was declared excommunicate; his subjects released from their allegiance, or rather peremptorily inhibited from paying him any acts of obedience; all the clergy were forbidden, under pain of perpetual die.

• History of Latin Christianity, including that of the Popes to the Pontificate of Nicholas V. By Henry Hart Milman, D.D., Dean of St. Paul's. Volumes IV. V. VI. Published by Murray.

ability to hold preferment, fromreceivizig benefices at his hands • all such ap- pointments were void, all leagues were annulled, all oaths abrogated, and this our bull is ordered to be suspended in the porch of the Cathedral of Anagni.' The 8th of f3eptember was the fatal day. "Boldface, infatuated by the sense of his unapproachable majesty, and of the sanctity of his office, bad taken no precautions for the safeguard of his person. He could not but know that his two deadliest enemies, William of Nogaret, the most daring of Philip's legal councillors, and Sciarra Colonna, the most fierce and desperate of the house which he had driven to despera- tion had been for several months in Italy, on the Tuscan borders at no great distance from Koine. They were accompanied by Musciatto dei Frances', in whose castle of Stages, not far from Sienna, they had taken up their abode. They had unlimitedpower to draw on the Panizzi, the merchant-bankers of the King of France at Florence. To the simple peasantry they held out that their mission was to reconcile the Pope with the King of France; others supposed that they were delegated to serve upon the Pope. the citation to ap- pear before the General Council. They bought with their gold many of the petty barons of Romagna. They hired to be at their command eland of the lawless soldiery who had been employed in the late wars. They had their emissaries in Anagni ; some even of the Cardinals had not been inac- cessible to their dark intrigues. "On a sudden, on the 7th September, (the 8th was the day for the publication of the bull,) the peaceful streets of Anagni were disturbed. The Pope and the Cardinals, who were all assembled around him, were startled with the trampling of armed horse, and the terrible cry, which ran like wildfire through the city= Death to Pope Boniface! Long live the King of France !' Marra Colonna, at the head of three hundred horsemen, the Barons of Car- cane and Supine, and some others, the sons of Master Massie of Anagni, were marching in furious baste, with the banner of the King of France dis- played. The ungrateful citizens of Anagni, forgetful of their pride in their holy compatriot, of the honour and advantage to their town from the splen- dour and wealth of the Papal residence, received them with rebellious and acclaiming shouts.

"The bell of the city, indeed, had tolled at the first alarm • the burghers had assembled; they had chosen their commander ; but that commander, whom they ignorantly or treacherously chose, was Arnulf, a deadly enemy of the Pope. The banner of the Church was unfolded against the Pope by the Captain of the People of Anagni. The first attack was on the palace of the Pope, on that of the Marquis Gaetani, his nephew, and those of three Cardinals, the special partisans of Boniface. The houses of the Pope and of his nephew made some resistance. The doors of those of the Cardinals were beaten down, the treasures ransacked and carried off; the Cardinals them- selves fled from the backs of the houses through the common sewer. Then arrived, but not to the rescue, Arnulf, the Captain of the People; he had perhaps been suborned by Reginald of Supino. With him were the sons of

iton whose father was pining in the dungeons of Boniface. Instead of resisting, they joined the attack on the palace of the Pope's nephew and his own. The Pope and his nephew implored a truce ; it was granted for eight hours. This time the Pope employed in endeavouring to stir up the people to his defence : the people coldly answered that they were under the com- mand of their Captain. The Pope demanded the terms of the conspirators. 'If the Pope would save his life, let him instantly restore the Colonna Car- dinals to their dignity, and reinstate the whole house in their honours and possessions - after this restoration, the Pope must abdicate, and leave his body at the disposal of Sciarra.' The Pope groaned in the depths of his heart. The word is spoken.' Again the assailants thundered at the gates of the palace ; still there was obstinate resistance. The principal church of Anagni, that of Santa Maria, protected the Pope's palace. Sciarra Colonna's lawless band set fire to the gates ; the church was crowded with clergy and laity and traders who had brought their precious wares into the sacred build- ing. They were plundered with such rapacity that not a man escaped with a farthing.

"The Marquis found himself compelled to surrender, on the condition that his own life, that of his family, and of his servants, should be spared. At these sad tidings the Pope wept bitterly. The Pope was alone ; from the first the Cardinals, some from treachery, some from cowardice, had fled on all sides, even his most familiar friends : they had crept into the most ig- noble hiding-places. The aged Pontiff alone lost not his self-command. He had declared himself ready to perish in his glorious cause ; he determined to fall with dignity. 'If I am betrayed like Christ, I am ready to die like Christ.' He put on the stole of St. Peter, the imperial crown was on his head, the keys of St. Peter in one hand and the cross in the other : he took his seat on the Papal throne, and, like the Boman Senators of old, awaited the approach of the Gaul. "But the pride and cruelty of Boniface had raised and infixed deep in the hearts of men passions which acknowledged no awe of age, of intrepidity, or religious majesty. In William of Nogaret the blood of his Tolosan ancestors, in Colonna the wrongs, the degradation, the beggary, the exile of all his house, had extinguished every feeling but revenge. Thy insulted him with con-

tumelious reproaches ; they menaced his life. he Pope answered not a word. They insisted that he should at once abdicate the Papacy. 'Behold my neck, behold my head,' was the only reply. But fiercer words passed between the Pope and William of Nogaret. Nogaret threatened to drag him before the Council of Lyons, where he should be deposed from the Pa- pacy. Shall I suffer myself to be degraded and deposed by Petering like thee, whose fathers were righteously burned as Petering William turned fiery red—with shame thought the partisans of Boniface, more likely with wrath. Sciarra, it was said, would have slain him outright: he was pre- vented by some of his own followers, even by Nogaret. Wretched Pope, even at this distance the goodness of my lord the King guards thy life.'

"He was placed under close custody, not one of his own attendants per- mitted to approach him. Worse indignities awaited him, lie was set on a vicious horse, with his face to the tail, and so led through the town to his place of imprisonment."

The destruction of the order of the Templars by Philip, when he had got his tool Clement on the Papal throne at Avignon, is well digested by the historian. His judgment seems to lean too much against the order, at least as regards the charges. That the majority of the Templars were loose livers, is very probable it would only be conformable to human nature and the practice Of the age. That many of them were sceptics or infidels, is very likely ; it is possible that some might conjoin with their infidelity the superstitious practice of unholy arts derived from the East. That they 'should have been guilty of the rash and purposeless blasphemies laid to their charge, is contrary to reason. The whole story may be read in brief, but with sufficient fulness, in Dr. Ili/maul's pages. In the last sad close, not of the order, for it was abolished, but of its representative, he rises to a clear and unforced eloquence.

"A scaffold was erected before the porch of Notre Dame. On one side ap- peared the two Cardinals; on the other the four noble prisoners, in chains, under the custody of the Provost of Paris. Six years of dreary imprison- ment bad passed over their heads; of their valiant brethren the most va- liant had been burned alive ; the recreants had purchased their lives by confession : the Pope in a full Council had condemned and dissolved the Order. If a human mind, a mind not the most stubborn, like that of Du Molay, could be broken by. suffering and humiliation, it must have yielded to this long and crushing Imprisonment. The Cardinal-Archbishop of Albi ascended a raised platform : he read the confessions of the Knights, the pro- ceedings of the Court; he enlarged on the criminality of the Order, on the holy justice of the Pope, and the devout, self-sacrificing zeal of the King; he was proceeding to the final, the fatal sentence. At that instant the Grand Master advanced ; his gesture implored silence : judges and people gazed in awe-struck apprehension. In a calm, clear voice, Du Molay spake—' Before heaven and earth, on the verge of death, where the least falsehood bears like an intolerable weight upon the soul, I protest that we have richly de- served death, not on account of any heresy or sin of which ourselves or our Order have been guilty' but because we have yielded, to save our lives, to the seductive words of the Pope and of the King; and so by our confessions brought shame and ruin on our blameless, holy, and orthodox Brotherhood.' " The Cardinals stood confounded ; the people could not suppress their profound sympathy. The assembly was hastily broken up; the Provost was commanded to conduct the prisoners back to their dungeons. Tomorrow we will hold further counsel.'

"But on the moment that the King heard these things, without a day's delay, without the least consultation with the ecelesiastical authorities he ordered them to death as relapsed heretics. In the island on the Seine where now stands the statue of Henry IV., between the King's garden on one side and the convent of the Augustinian monks on the other, the two pyres were raised (two out of the four had shrunk back into their ignoble confession). It was the hour of vespers when these two aged and noble men were led out to be burned: they w ere tied each to the stake. The flames kindled dully and heavily the wood, hastily piled up, was green or wet ; or, in cruel mercy, the Wiliness was designed that the victims might have time, while the fire was still curling round their extremities, to recant their bold recantation. But there was no sign, no word of weakness. Du Molay implored that the image of the Mother of God might be held up before him, aud his hands unchained, that he might clasp them in prayer. Both, sui the smoke rose to their lips, as the fire crept up to the vital parts, continued solemnly to aver the innocence, the Catholic faith of the Order. The King himself sat and beheld, it might seem without remorse, this hideous specta- cle; the words of Du Molay might have reached his ears. But the people looked on with far other feelings. Stupor kindled into admiration; the ex- ecution was a martyrdom ; friars gathered up their ashes and bones, and carried them away, hardly by stealth, to consecrated ground ; they became holy relics. The two who wanted courage to die pined away their miserable

i life n prison.

"The wonder and the pity of the times which immediately followed, ar- rayed Du Molay not only in the robes of the martyr, but gave him the ter- rible language of a prophet. Clement, iniquitous and cruel judge. I sum- mon thee within forty days to meet me before the throne of the Most High.' According to some accounts, this fearful sentence included the King ; by whom, if uttered, it might have been heard. The earliest allusion to this awful speech does not contain that striking particularity which, if part of it, would be fatal to its credibility—the precise date of Clement's death. It was not till the year after that Clement and King Philip passed to their ac- count. The poetic relation of Godfrey of Paris simply statts that Du Molay declared that God would revenge their death on their unrighteous judges. The rapid fate of these two men during the next year might naturally so appal the popular imagination as to approximate more closely the prophecy and its accomplishment. At all events, it betrayed the deep and general feeling of the cruel wrong inflicted on the Order : while the unlamented death of the Pope, the disastrous close of Philip's reign, and the disgraceful crimes which attended the honour of his family seemed as declarations of Heaven as to the innocence of their noble victims."